Sali and Carey (right) in Glasgow last year


If you've never heard of osteosarcoma, think yourself lucky

Nor had Sali Hughes until her close friend Carey Lander was diagnosed with this rare, aggressive and "unfashionable" illness

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By Sali Hughes on

Carey Lander tragically passed away on Sunday 11th October 2015.  You can now donate directly to Sarcoma.This article was originally published on 2nd September 2015

In the past few days you may have seen people like Dermot O’Leary, Molly Ringwald, Marian Keyes, Judd Apatow and our own Lauren Laverne tweeting the link to a fundraising page started by Carey Lander, talented keyboard player, organist and backing vocalist with much loved indie band Camera Obscura.

Carey is a close friend of mine and at just 33, she is dying. She has only just shared this information publicly, four years after her initial diagnosis of osteosarcoma, a rare and particularly aggressive bone cancer mainly affecting children and young people. It’s an illness that receives very little funding and attention, and one I confess I’d never even heard of before it crashed into Carey’s life.

For a few years following surgery on her leg and some intensive chemotherapy, she was cancer-free and her prognosis looked hopeful. She made an album, performed at gigs, hung out with her partner, friends and family, trekked from Glasgow to attend my 40th and the launch of my book, which she alone had inspired me to write. But now the bastard cancer is back and inoperable. It is spreading fast and Carey doesn’t have long to do what she feels she needs to: help others.

Now the bastard cancer is back and inoperable. It is spreading fast and Carey doesn’t have long to do what she feels she needs to: help others

Just Giving pages are ten a penny. Nice, good people giving up booze, shaving their heads and running marathons, all because they want to help worthwhile causes to ease the suffering of people in need. Very often we donate, sometimes we’re unmoved for reasons we don’t even stop to dwell on, occasionally we think we’ll come back later then forget.

There’s a deserving story behind every fundraising page and there’s no qualitative reason why you should give Carey and Sarcoma UK your money over anyone else who needs it. Except that as a journalist on The Pool, I am in the unusually fortunate position of being able to tell a wider audience how excellent the human being behind the page is, how kind, hilariously funny, dry and poetic she is, how maddeningly self deprecating and modest, about how she packed eight lipsticks for a hospital stay from which she was unlikely to return with both legs, how magical she is with all children, how impossibly dignified and strong she’s being at a time when everyone else is struggling to put one foot in front of the other. She is a normally intensely private person who has pushed shyness aside at the most unimaginably horrible time in her life, in order to help those who come after her - the young people who will one day be diagnosed with the same unfashionable illness with few PR opportunities.

I’m shamelessly exploiting my chance here – pushing Carey’s story under your nose – because this might be the only time in your life you read about sarcoma in the news, this could be the one occasion where it touches you enough to inspire a donation. Your quid, fiver, tenner or more will change young lives, I guarantee it. And then Carey will see your lovely act, and she will read your message, and that will mean a huge amount to her and to the very many of us who love her. 

Thank you. You can donate via the Sarcoma website.


Sali and Carey (right) in Glasgow last year
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